iRING and BIM – What a team.

BIM is an idea. Yes there are specific standards and guidelines that cover different aspects of it – PAS, IFC, CoBie and many more (I’m not the expert here) – but mainly, it’s an idea.

BIM is a great idea. The idea that the whole business lifecycle for any built-environment engineered-asset, should work collaboratively around a “model” of the asset. The most obvious “sexy” bit of that model is the 3D Model (and assorted 4D, 5D, 6D dynamic variants) and both engineers and owners appreciate that seductive view. But that view is of course, a window on the more complete information model of the asset and all the business processes involved, from inception, through design, engineering, approvals and construction to operation and maintenance, and beyond, encompassing every aspect from basic functionality to sustainability in the widest sense. It really is a great idea.

BIM is not an entirely new idea, of course. Evolving from greater adoption and more intelligent use of 3D modelling in buildings generally and, in complex facilities typical in the Energy and Process business, the wider information model supporting both handovers and multi-discipline collaborative working and configuration management throughout the lifecycle, has been evolving for over 2 decades. As with the BIM community the drive started with customer “handover” in the big-bang sense, but evolved to staged “Soft Landings” handover, and recognition that sharing the model at any stage in the lifecycle has immense value for those doing the sharing. It’s an idea whose time has thoroughly come.

The convergence of ideas and technologies is so complete, that quite frankly this ceased to be a technology problem some time ago. Clearly there are technology choices to be made, but the problem is not shortage of options, rather the opposite. The number of human and machine interactions possible with the model and its information is already mind-boggling from design development, through procurement, in the field during construction, and throughout the asset ownership lifecycle, through integrated facility and maintenance operations, local and remote. You name it, you’ve probably already seen it, and the last thing you want to do is back a technology loser.

So the issue now is not technology per se, but business architecture. How to re-engineer the asset business to take advantage of the possibilities. What are the key business components and how should they be connected given the availability of such a model? At one end of the scale it’s about contracting cultures and organisational responsibilities for information, at the other end it’s about “big data” and the qualities of how each bit is modelled and managed.

iRING addresses one very specific enabling component of the business architecture conundrum. How to separate – maintain and bim-iringde-risk independence and neutrality between – the business processes, the asset and application technologies and the value of the information content. How iRING achieves this is described here, but the essence is the ability to share reference data, from local “master data” to global standard terminology in a way that is both semantically rich (unambiguous) and independent of the particular business processes and your choices of applications and technologies.

iRING supports and is entirely complementary to your BIM vision.

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